By Derrick DePledge
The Democratic Party of Hawaii's state central committee unanimously approved a position statement on Saturday urging the state Legislature to pass a marriage equality bill in special session.
The statement follows a similar resolution from Oahu Democrats earlier this month.
Dante Carpenter, the party's chairman, was delivering the statement to lawmakers on Tuesday at the state Capitol. The party, Carpenter said in a news release, believes marriage equality is a civil right and must not be delayed any longer given the U.S. Supreme Court rulings in June that legally married gay couples are entitled to federal benefits. Same-sex and heterosexual couples in Hawaii can enter into civil unions and receive the same rights and benefits of marriage under state law, but not federal law.
State House Democrats are meeting in private caucus on Wednesday to discuss gay marriage. Gov. Neil Abercrombie is awaiting word from the House about whether there are the votes for a marriage equality bill before he decides whether to call a special session. The state Senate has the votes for a bill.
Here is the majority party's statement:
The Democratic Party of Hawaii calls upon the Legislature to pass marriage equality legislation immediately at a properly convened special session.